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Friday, April 27, 2012

Brydge keyboard turns iPad into a MacBook Air clone

There are no lack of Bluetooth keyboards for the iPad, but the newest Kickstarter project is most impressive. Called Brydge, the wireless keyboard makes the iPad look more like a MacBook Air than anything I’ve seen yet. Backing starts at $150 and the project will fund if it tops $90,000 by June 4.
Unlike other keyboard cases, Brydge appears more secure: It uses a patent-pending hinge to secure an iPad and allows the entire setup to open up a full 180-degrees. This also allows the iPad to tilt in a myriad of positions instead of being fixed to a few. A nice addition is the option for stereo speakers. You’ll pay at least $30 more for that luxury, but’s a small cost to upgrade from the iPad’s single internal speaker.
The team behind Brydge says the product will work with both the iPad 2 and the newest iPad. Battery life is going to vary greatly due to speaker use, but the Brydge will easily recharge over a microUSB connection. Apple-specific keys are also part of the QWERTY setup, which should come in handy.

I was recently enamored by the $99 Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Cover for iPad, but I may hold off and back the Brydge instead. The addition of speakers is a big draw, for starters. But on the flipside, the Brydge will add 1.28 pounds to an iPad. As a result, the iPad will not only look like a MacBook Air, but weigh nearly as much as one too!
While the Brydge looks Apple-like, I wouldn’t count on Apple bringing a similar product. Earlier this week, Apple CEO Tim Cook said (in reference to convertible tablets), “You can converge a toaster and refrigerator, but these things are probably not going to be pleasing to the user,” so I don’t expect an iPad to officially converge with an Air.